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Using Natural Stone to Enhance the Dining Experience

Natural stone is a unique design material because it's exotic and malleable. Fine stones such as rare marble and travertine can be used to create an atmosphere that rings with customers and rings at the register. This article shows how a lodging establishment can take their dining experience to the next level.

It's a serious problem at many hotels offering the lure of an entertaining nightlife. Customers come to play but they leave to eat. It's not enough to serve up tasty dishes, savvy hotels also need to provide the right atmosphere. After all, 'atmosphere is everything.' Lodging establishments looking to retain the appetites and wallets of their customers, need only to look to a trendy hotel/resort in New Jersey for the answer.

In July of 2003, the most resplendent ornament on the Atlantic City scene was unveiled; The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Like a peacock among pigeons, this luxurious Northeastern landmark has stood elegantly in full plumage, welcoming visitors from all around the world. Boardwalk or bayside, The Borgata offers an experience unlike any of its new neighbors. But after adding a group of 5-star restaurants, there was a need to enhance the dining experience for these fine eateries and other leisure areas. The answer was etched in stone. The decision was made to hire several high-profile design teams to implement natural stone floors, walls, service counters, kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities. From an aesthetic perspective, using natural stone for walls and floors would significantly increase the beauty and prestige of the restaurants, and offer a dining experience unlike anything else in the city.

Unique MaterialsTo complete this project, the design teams first had to source no less than 20 different types of rare stone, which included book-matched Calacatta marble, Azul Macauba marble wall panels, chiseled and flamed Pompei granite, Lava stone and custom mosaics, among others. To satisfy this need, the stones were imported from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile and China. The project also called for 20,000 square feet of stone.

ChallengesWith respect to design, working with stone, or any natural material, can become quite challenging. Colors and patterns are completely unique from stone to stone. For establishments that seek an abundance of style and color choices, working with a firm that has access to quarries in various parts of the world is paramount.

A walk to one of the restaurants reveals Coffee Brown granite and White Arabescato marble elegantly bathing both floor and wall, creating an impeccably epicurean dining atmosphere. At another eatery, floors are done in chiseled and flamed Pompei granite and the restroom walls are lined in an elaborate, and very rare, custom wood and ceramic mosaic.

The Path to EleganceThe Borgata's decision to incorporate the beauty and elegance of natural stone to enhance aesthetic atmosphere is one that pays off over time, with higher and more relevant patronage, and also goes a long way towards strengthening brand integrity. Natural stone is such a unique design material because it's exotic, malleable and most of all, mysterious. Its cool surface can be polished in several ways to give varying interpretations of its character and composition. Due to these simple facts, it has been, and always will be, associated with the upscale experience.

Copyright Harold GermanComputer Technology Articles, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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Mr. German is a renowned author and contributor, with appearances in noted international publications such as The Economist, and on news stations such as CNN. Mr. German is the director of marketing at Innovative Stone, whose brands include Stonemark, and is proprietor of Wainscoting Long Island.

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